In sight




Dear Subscribers,


This issue of Art Insight focuses primarily on the major exhibition of paintings by Sydney based artist, Laura Matthews.  You will discover the expansive nature of this remarkable artist's vision for her adopted country.  Matthews is one of Australia's real talents in contemporary painting.  Her exhibition titled Breathe will be opened by the great Australian landscape artist, Jeff Makin at Barrack Gallery on Thursday 18th May. 

If you have not already heard, Australia has a new auction record with John Brack's The Bar achieving $3.1 million at Sotheby's April 11 sale.  This result, coupled with Fred Williams $1.98 million at Christie's the night before, is a clear indication that the Australian art market is prepared to seek new highs for top end works. 

In this issue, we explore the impact of the bullish opening to 2006 on the Australian investing landscape.

This month also sees exciting new talents profiled- artists who have achieved considerable critical acclaim already in their career and are continuing to build on their reputations as "artists to watch".

It certainly has been an exciting opening quarter to the year.  As a subscriber to Art Insight, you will be in the box seat to receive all the news, innovations and offers that Art Equity will be delivering over coming months. 


Ralph Hobbs
Art Director


Laura Matthews, Violet Strata, Oil on linen,
137x92cm, Signed lower right


If you want to find Laura Matthews in the labyrinthine spaces of the inner Sydney studio where she works, it is often the aural before the visual that will lead you to her. Sound accompanies every slap and swoop of her brush: early on in her career it was Mahler's 9th "over and over again", these days it could be anything from Bach to the Eurythmics to the rounded vowels of the BBC world service when homesickness strikes.

For Matthews, painting in silence is as unimaginable as painting sitting down and 'Breathe', her new body of work exudes this same visceral physicality and energy. Gaze long enough at her seascapes, at turbulent skies and moody seas and you can hear too the sound of sand, spray and dune grasses whipped up by wind.

Laura Matthews, Pressure, Oil on linen,
137x153cm, Signed lower right

Welsh born and trained at London University's prestigious Slade School of Fine Art, Matthews' vision of the world is a palpably English one. Her artistic influences - later to become colleagues when she joined the Slade's teaching staff - have also been some of Britain's greatest modern figurative painters, William Coldstream, Lucien Freud and the late Euan Uglow who was not only a tutor but was to become a great friend.

Breathe', her third Australian exhibition, however represents a new freedom, an emblematic step away from a past in which great artistic legacy and tradition can become a burden and threaten to oppress. The new paintings speak of her new Australian vista, of distance, vast spaces and symbolic fresh air. Matthews' love of the sea, coastal landscapes and marine light is conspicuous but so too is her anxiously European fascination with the open ocean and big, ever changing Australian skies. Water, she says, would be a constant companion but at a distance: "It terrifies me. I love looking at it but I don¹t want to be in it".


The 'Breathe' canvases were not painted one by one but simultaneously in a whirlwind of urgent, gestural strokes. The result is a panorama of movement, shifting light and blurred skies and horizons. All speak as powerfully alone as they do in unison.

Paola Totaro
Acting Editor, The Weekend Sydney Morning Herald

May 2006

Breathe - Opens at Barrack Gallery on 18 May 2006.  Exhibition current until 2 June.

John Brack The Bar
Sold at Sothebys April 11 Auction in Melbourne for $3.12 million

Photo source:  AAP, The Sydney Morning Herald


Fred Williams Upwey Landscape (1965)
Sold at Christie's April 10 Auction in Melbourne for $1,987,000

Photo source: The Sydney Morning Herald


Tim Storrier, Boys Own (working title), Collagraph,
60x81cm, Edition size: 70


Media View

Art's new million-dollar babies

"The managing director of Sotheby’s Australia, Mark Fraser, said people were in for a few surprises in the next few years on what the Australian market could achieve. Ït’s not fully priced…one could argue the whole market is undervalued,” he said.

"Big sales will bring more rare works out of the woodwork. “Once new benchmarks are set, new, exciting and important work emerges on the market,” Mr Fraser said. “We are very optimistic that there’ll be more where that came from.” (Excerpt)
Click here for full article

Sunanda Creagh, The Sydney Morning Herald
14 April 2006

Record price for painting, bar none

"John Brack's The Bar went under the hammer at Sotheby's in Melbourne. The previous record for an Australian work of art at auction was $2.3 million for Frederick McCubbin's Bush Idyll."

"Sotheby's spokeswoman, Kate Dezarnaulds, said the strong bidding had exceeded expectations. "We knew it would do over $2 million - but it has changed. This has set a new benchmark." (Excerpt)
Click here for full article

AAP, The Sydney Morning Herald
12 April 2006


I know what I like

"Art can be a profitable investment.  Just look at the recent auction sales of multi-million dollar works by John Brack and Fred Williams.  There's no law stating your self-managed fund can't participate in the market, so long as you play by the rules." (Excerpt)

Click here for full article

Annette Sampson, The Sydney Morning Herald
19 April 2006

Is it just art, or is it investment?

"For all their investment potential, pieces of art have one, key flaw: the only dividend that is earned is through the enjoyment and appreciation of having a piece of art on your wall or in your home."  (Excerpt)
Click here for full article

Joe Bolger, The [UK] Times
17 April 2006

*Art Equity is the only Art investment business that addresses this "flaw". 
Art Equity Rentals offers Australia's only "income deriving" art investment product.  Our art rental portfolio's enable investors to earn up to 9% (fixed) return over a period of 2 to 3 years - a smart solution for serious investors looking to diversify their investment portfolio

Pro Hart, Miners camp by the pond, Oil on canvas


Katy Woodroffe, Pearls of Wisdom 2, 2006, (cropped) Mixed media on paper, 125x100cm


Top Performers


These Australian artists are currently amongst the markets most sought after.  Art Equity has sold works by all the artists listed and for some, is a representative gallery in NSW. 

  • Fred Williams
    The auction record for a Fred Williams painting was more than tripled at Christie's April 10 sale.  Upwey Landscape, painted in 1965 sold for $1,987,000 just short of the (then) highest Australian auction price of $2.3 million.  Upwey Landscape was estimated to fetch $500,000 - $800,000  Williams previous record of $587,500 was set in 2002 for a painting of the You Yangs.

  • Tim Storrier
    Tim Storrier has just launched a major exhibition of new "flaming" works with Melbourne Gallery Metro5.  The demand continues unabated for works by this artist with 8 major paintings selling within days of the opening, including an acrylic on canvas (137x289cm) for $270,000. 
    Art Equity secured a significant holding of Storrier's recently released Evening Blazeline; a 7 plate, 50 colour collagraph created with Master Printmaker, Paul Smith.  The prints were sold within 2 hours - such is the demand and solid investment potential of works by this artist.  According to, 100 USD invested in 1997 in a work of Tim Storrier had an average value of 402 USD in February 2006.
  • Pro Hart
    Pro Hart's work is being reassessed since his death; consequently The Builders brought a hefty $48,995 and The Ants $26,290 at Christies April 10 auction. Christie's estimated The Builders would sell for between $9000 and $12,000 and The Ants would fetch $6,000 to $8,000.   Although derided by many Australian critics, Hart's artworks are prized items both in private collections, including those of the late US president Lyndon Baines Johnson and Prince Philip, and others, including the Australian War Memorial, NSW and Adelaide universities, and the Bonython Collection.
  • Mark Munro
    Our recent exhibition at Barrack Gallery titled Some place: Site Specific attracted immense interest and strong sales.  Photographers, Anke Stäcker and Mark Munro joined forces to present our first major photographic show. Munro's powerful images generating a mood of isolation and abandonment, were incredibly popular and certainly not unexpected for an artist of his experience and calibre. 

  • Katy Woodroffe
    Katy was recently selected as a finalist in the City of Hobart Art Prize.  She was one of 28 artists selected from 124 submissions.  Katy was the 2006 winner of the Woman Tasmania's International Women's Day Art Competition in Hobart.  In the last 5 years, she has won no less than 6 art prizes and selected as a finalist in several additional prizes.  She will be holding a solo exhibition at Barrack Gallery later this year.


Andrew McIlroy, Seascape - A quiet place III 2006,
Oil on canvas, 102cmx122.2cm (*Available)
CLICK HERE to view more
works by this artist



Tony Arno, Tasmania Series I, Oil on board, 76x115cm





Mark Munro, Dallas Brookes, C-Type Photograph,
80x60cm, (*Available)



David Larwill, Dog, 3 Plate sugarlift aquatint etching,

78cm x 59cm (*Available)



Jason Benjamin, I have to take care of you now,
Etching, 40x65cm (*Available)


  • Andrew McIlroy

    Masterful painter Andrew McIlroy produces sophisticated canvasses which straddle traditional and modernist methodologies.  Referencing Australian Colonialism and the forefathers of the landscape tradition, McIlroy’s concern with atmosphere, golden light and voluminous skies also pays homage to the great Joseph Mallord William Turner and forms a bridge with contemporary figuration.

    As McIlroy explains , “I hope to make people pause for just a moment. My inspiration is simple; to create something tangible, long lasting and familiar. My struggle is to capture 'Australianess' without reacting against European influences or composition.”

    Andrew's serene seascapes have been tremendously well received by Art Equity clients, with two thirds of the canvases selling within hours of hitting the gallery walls. McIlroy is one to watch!

  • Tony Arno
    Tony came to prominence during the 1980's as a leading advertising illustrator and graphic designer. He is most famous for designing the classic and iconic Qantas "Flying kangaroo".

    A seachange has seen Tony leave the city high life to pursue full time painting. His series of inspirational works centre around the Australian landscape- from the desert sands to the Tasmanian rivers. Central to all his painting too, is an iconic image of a "spirit figure", which appears stylised and an integral part of all his works.  Semi self portrait, this joyous figure and all his calm and beautiful works represent Tony's new found freedoms as a fine artist.

    Art Equity will launch a select group of Tony Arno's paintings at Barrack Gallery on the 9th of May.




April 2006 will be long remembered by the art world as an exhilarating month in the auction room. Within 24 hours, two multi-million dollar sales were celebrated, the highest price ever paid for an Australian artwork was witnessed and a mixed vendor sale record was achieved. The Australian art market is clearly buoyant!

Sotheby's April 11 sale in Melbourne achieved the new Australian auction record of $3.1 million for John Brack's The Bar.  The previous record, held for almost 8 years was $2.3 million for Frederick McCubbin's Bush Idyll.  At Christie's final soiree just 24 hours earlier, Upwey Landscape by Fred Williams came remarkably close to the previous high with a sale price of $1.9 million - against an estimate of around $500,000.  

Two other paintings to achieve exceptional prices at Sotheby's were Charles Conder's Hot Wind, selling for $936,000 (est. $350,000-500,000) and Brett Whiteley's Dove and Dusk which brought $780,000 against an estimate of $500,000-600,000. Roy de Maistre's New Atlantis, a 1930s work with links to British artist Francis Bacon, also set a new record with a stunning $630,000.

Following the Sotheby's September 2005 sale, Geoff Maslin titled an article "Art Market off the Boil" (The Age, September 23, 2005). Coincidently he comments that, "Despite the relatively high sums fetched for the best works, 15 failed to sell and they included high-priced pictures by John Brack, Fred Williams and Brett Whiteley. This suggests that collectors are far more sophisticated and rather more cautious in their bidding."  How the market changes!

Managing director of Sotheby's, Mark Fraser describes the art market in an April 15 article as "experiencing "consistent growth" over the past decade."  He argues that "The art market has shrugged off the Asian crisis and the 2001 crisis. We are increasingly seeing more people looking at art as an alternative tangible asset with very good historical returns and capital growth. Art can form part of a balanced investment portfolio."  ("Lusting for painting by numbers" The Age, 15th April 2006)

The demographic of art collectors in Australia has broadened enormously in recent years.  The market has grown as buyers have become more sophisticated and culturally aware.  They have greater access to information and historical trends and are encouraged by the financial world wanting a slice of the action.  Sotheby's alone has seen a 140% increase in turnover between 1996 and 2005 and 55% increase since 2001.

As at 1st May, 2006, the current year auction results totaled almost $32 million - more than one third of last year's annual sum.  Strong auction performances so far this year indicate a new record for art sales for 2006 is highly likely.


International Art Market
The recent bullish action in Australia is following a global trend for surging art market performances.

According to, New York has experienced an explosion of prices.

" Art prices continued to climb in the first quarter of 2006. In the middle of the spring/summer auction season and a few days ahead of the prestigious "Impressionist & Modern Art Evening Sale" in New York, the Artprice Global Index shows that prices rose a further 16% over just four months! Since the beginning of the year, 117 lots have already exceeded the million dollar mark, compared with only 66 over the same period in 2005."

"In New York, where prices have risen 20% in the first four months of the year, we could even use the word 'speculation'. They are now 42% higher than at the height of the speculative bubble in 1990. Already this year, a major painting by William Turner has fetched USD 32 million at auction. However, in London, prices have stabilised since the beginning of the year. Already in 2005, the rise in transaction prices in the UK was only +4.7% compared with +27% in 2004.
And in France, the upward trend seen at the end of 2005 was confirmed at the beginning of this season. The Artprice Global Index for Paris transactions rose 7.4% in the first quarter of 2006, thus approaching the level reached at the end of 1991."




The May Premium Portfolio includes original prints by four of Australia's most eagerly collected artists.  Tim Storrier, Jeff Makin, David Larwill and Jason Benjamin are regarded among the most technically skilled and highly bankable artists.  All current and past indicators suggest the mid to long term capital appreciation potential for artworks by each of these artists is outstanding. 

The portfolio offers a return of 8% over a period of two years.   

Premium Portfolios


ART EQUITY RENTAL PORTFOLIOS enable you to earn income from the art you own.  You purchase an art portfolio starting from around $10,000 which we then rent to the corporate sector.  You will earn income of between 6.5% to 9 per cent per annum from your investment as well as the potential capital appreciation of the artwork over time.


Laura Matthews, Lassitude, Oil on linen,
137x92cm, Signed lower right




David Bromley, Children with kitten, Acrylic & leaf on linen,
150x180cm, (*Available)

Anke Stäcker, Siniscola, C-Type on gatorboard, 75x50cm



Brad Munro Morning Memo,
Oil on Linen, 91 x 122cm


Pasquale Giardino, Little Train

Oil on canvas, 61cm x 91.5cm



Andrew McIlroy in front of his Seascape - A quiet place IV 2006,
(sold) recently released by Art Equity.


*Available from Art Equity at the time of publishing

Art Insight May 2006









  • Barrack Gallery Works on paper - until 10 May, 2006.
  • Andy McIlroy, New Works launch 2nd May, 2006
  • Tony Arno, New Works launch 9th May, 2006
  • Laura Matthews Breathe - 18 May until 1 June, 2006.

  • If you would like to join our invitation mailing list for Exhibitions at Barrack Gallery, please click here and leave your name, address and email address.
  • Art Equity Education Seminars - If you are interested in attending a seminar at Barrack Gallery, click here.
  • Interested in reading previous issues of Art Insight?
    October 2005
    November 2005
    December 2005
    February 2006
    March 2006
    April 2006


  • Art Gallery of NSW
    The Art Gallery of NSW will be exhibiting winners and nominated entries for the Archibald, Wynne & Sulman Prizes, as well as the Photographic Portrait Prize - until 28 May
    SELF PORTRAIT: Renaissance to Contemporary - Rubens, Velázquez, Van Gogh, Cézanne, Bacon, Kahlo, Warhol - On tour from the National Portrait Gallery, London - until 14 May
    MODERN TO NOW 1 - until 21 May
    THEO SCHARF - until 14 May
    CONSTANZE ZIKO - until 21 May
    Symbols & Ceremonies - until 28 May
    KEVIN CONNOR -until 25 June
    Old Europe - 3 June until 6 August
    Zen Mind, Zen Brush - 16 June until 13 August
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
    VOLTE FACE: Mike Parr Prints & Pre-Prints 1970 - 2005 -
    until 21 May
    SAM TAYLOR-WOOD - photographic and video works from the late 1990s to the present with a strong portraiture focus - until 21 May
    MASQUERADE: Representation and the self in contemporary art - until 21 May
    FREE GALLERY TALK - MCA Senior Curator Rachel Kent leads a tour of the exhibition Masquerade: Representation and the self in contemporary art - Sunday 14 may at 2.30pm
  • Australian Centre for Photography
    Dont be something strong - photos by Paul Knight - 28 April to 3 June
  • Museum of Sydney
    State of play: 100 years of tourism in New South Wales -
    until 30 June
  • National Gallery of Australia
    The prints of OTTO DIX - until 30 April
    Crescent Moon: Islamic Art and Civilisation in south East Asia - until 28 May
    CONSTABLE: Impressions of Land, Sea and Sky - Around 100 works by John Constable - until 12 June
    AUSTRALIA and CONSTABLE: featuring Australian and NZ artists who have been inspired by Constable's art - until 12 June
    Come Rain or shine
  • National Portrait Gallery - Old Parliament House
    Portraits for posterity - until 9 July
  • National Portrait Gallery - Commonwealth Place
    Rennie Ellis: Aussies All - until 27 August
  • Canberra Museum and Gallery
  • National Archives of Australia
    Summers Past: Golden Days in the Sun 1950-70 - until 25 June


  • The McClelland Contemporary Sculpture Survey and Award 2005 which feature's Australia's richest acquisitive sculpture award is on at McClelland Gallery+Sculpture Park, Langwarrin, Victoria until 25 June
  • National Gallery of Victoria – International
    Pissaro: The First Impressionist - until 28 May
    Remote Control - Contemporary photomedia - until 7 May
    WILLIAM KENTRIDGE: 7 Fragments for George Melies - until 21 May
    Mountains and Streams: Chinese Paintings from the Asian Collection (free entry)
    Rembrandt 1606- 1669: from the Prints and Drawings collection (Free entry) - until 24 September
    Picasso: Love and War 1935- 1945  - 30 June until 8 October
  • National Gallery of Victoria – Ian Potter Centre
    Martin Grant - Paris - until 7 May 06
    Land Marks - until 11 June
    2006 Contemporary Commonwealth - until 25 June
    Top Arts: VCE 2005 (free entry) - until16 July
    Deborah Halpern: Angel - 10 May to 23 July (free entry)
  • Geelong Gallery
    RAY HEARN - ceramics - until 9 April
    Place Made - Australian Print Workshop. A National Gallery of Australia traveling exhibition - 7 April - 4 June
    PAT AND MARK SHANNON - until 7 May
    The cutting edge: cut & engraved glass - until 2 July
    Vigex - Photography salon - 13 May until 12 June


  • Queensland Art Gallery
    Xstrata Coal Emerging Indigenous Art Award - until 21 May
    Education Minister's Award for Excellence in Art - until 28 May
    : La Belle Holandaise Celebrates its Centenary - ongoing display
  • QLD Centre for Photography
    The viewer and the viewed - David Van Royen, Victoria Lawson , Doug Spowart and Victoria Cooper - until 21 May
    Annie Hogan, Karen Milder and Terry Young - 27 May until June 18
  • Museum of Brisbane
    "Grant Stevens - Cut to the Cheese - until 28 May
    Sharing Life: Brisbane Stories of Organ Donation - until 6 June
    Double Take: Ten contemporary Brisbane artists respond to works from the City of Brisbane Collection - until 9 July
    Taking to the Streets - Two decades that changed Brisbane 1965- 1985 - until 10 September

  • Gold Coast Arts Centre
    2006 Josephine Ulrick & Win Schubert Photography Award  - to 20 May
    Pro Hart - Retrospective - until 4 June


  • Art Gallery of South Australia

    Margaret Preston: Art & Life - 26 May until 13 August
    2006 Adelaide Biennial of Australian Art: 21st Century Modern - until 7 May
  • Contemporary Art Centre of South Australia
    Where Angels Tread - Shaun Gladwell, Nicole Loder, Julie Rrap, Tony Schwensen, Darren Siwes & Judith Wright - until 4 June
  • Royal South Australian Society of Arts
    Retrospective and Recent Works - Andrew Steiner & Stephanie Schrapel - 7 to 28 May


  • Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery

    Max Angus: A Lifetime of Watercolour- until 16 July

    The Gaslighter Murals - until 14 May (Bond Store)
    Henry Hunter Case - It's the little things in life - until 12 June

    Max Angus - A lifetime of watercolour - until 16 July
    Eloquent Objects: The Wongs Collection of Chinese Antiquities & Artefacts - until 10 September 06
  • Queen Victoria Art Galley and Museum
    Royal Park

    The Waterhole—works by children's author and illustrator Graeme Base - until 28 May 2006
    Modernage Fabrics—A new approach to textile designing -to 23 July
    The daVinci Machines - 13 April to 25 June
    Frederick Strange's Watercolour Views of the 1850s - until 7 May
    Contemporary Aspects of Tasmanian Art - Tim Burns, Kerry Gregan, Jonathan Kimberley, Sue Lovegrove, Heather B. Swann and Richard Wastell - until 16 July 2006


  • Art Gallery of Western Australia

    Western Desert Satelites - until 30 July
    Brent Harris Swamp Op - until 5 June
    Identity and Change - Representation and Nyoongar People - until August 2006
    Western Australian Art 1820's to 1960's - until November

  • Fremantle Arts Centre
  • Perth Centre for Photography
    nemesis : the source of one's destruction - opens 3 May


  • Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory
    Exit Art:: Contemporary youth art of NT Year 12 students - until 7 May
    The sound of the sky: the Northern Territory in Australian Art - until 16 July
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